The Security Council today renewed until 12 March 2017 the mandate of the Panel of Experts monitoring sanctions imposed on those behind instability in Sudan’s western Darfur region, expressing regret that members of the Government as well as armed groups continued to disregard its demands, while also signaling its intention to impose measures against parties perpetuating violence.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2265 (2016) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council also expressed its intent, during the upcoming period, to review, and if necessary alter, the mandate of the Panel, which supports the Committee established by resolution 1591 (2005) and which imposed the sanctions on designated individuals. The regime consists of an arms embargo, an assets freeze and a travel ban.
By the text, the Council encouraged the Panel, in coordination with the Joint African Union/United Nations Mediation, to provide to the Committee the names of any individuals, groups or entities that could meet sanctions listing criteria. It requested that the Panel provide the Committee with a midterm update on its work no later than 12 August 2016, and a final report to the Council no later than 13 January 2017.
Concerning the arms embargo, the Council recalled the obligation of the Government of Sudan under resolution 1591 (2005) to request the Committee’s approval for the movement of military equipment and supplies into Darfur, calling upon it to address the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons in the region.
Expressing concern that not all Member States were implementing the travel ban and asset freeze, the Council requested the Panel to share with the Committee, as quickly as possible, any information it received regarding possible non-compliance. It also directed the Committee to engage immediately on the issue with the parties concerned.
Among other provisions of the resolution, the Council requested that the Panel continue to investigate the financing and role of armed, military and political groups in attacks against personnel of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), expressing its intention to impose targeted sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for planning, sponsoring or participating in such attacks.
Condemning the military use of camps for internally displaced persons by armed groups, the Council urged the Government to respond to the Committee’s requests regarding measures to protect civilians, including in Jebel Marra and North Darfur, areas to which the Panel, UNAMID and humanitarian agencies had been denied access. It insisted that Sudan remove all restrictions imposed on the Panel’s work, including by issuing timely multiple-entry visas, waiving the requirement for permits to enter Darfur and enhancing cooperation.
Following the resolution’s adoption, Vitaly Churkin (Russian Federation) said that while his delegation had voted in favour of the text, the threat of sanctions could have been used in a more effective manner had it not been for the “duplicitous” positions of some Council members. He expressed concern about actions by the United States, saying it had abused its position as penholder on the issue.
That delegation had attempted to increase pressure on Khartoum and to strip it of one of its most important sources of income, he said, adding that its actions had eroded the Council’s unity. Responsibility for a number of “important omissions” from the text lay fully with the United States, he emphasized, expressing hope that the delegation would learn a lesson from the situation and follow more “reasonable and considerate” approaches in the future.
Samantha Power (United States) said that, following a brief period of relative calm, recent months had seen aerial bombardments and worsening humanitarian conditions in Darfur, yet the Council had remained silent; in fact, it had not mustered a single sanctions designation since 2006.
It had created a Panel of Experts, but one member now blocked from public view a Panel report that could have better informed the Council’s decision-making. Pointing out that the report took note of recurring violations of human rights and humanitarian law, she said the Council could not agree on even modest attempts to address that information, which covered the relationship between gold trafficking and armed groups. Some of the same Council members who often spoke in principle about the need for transparency on sanctions regimes now sought to block information about a real sanctions regime in practice.
As penholder, the United States took seriously its responsibility to consider the Panel’s findings and the views of all Council members, she stressed, asking the 15-member organ to “speak with one voice” and take meaningful steps towards peace.
Rafael Darío Ramírez Carreño (Venezuela), Council President for February, spoke in his national capacity, pointing out that he had voted in favour of the resolution out of a need to preserve unity on important issues. Underlining that the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur should be the framework for guiding negotiations between the parties, he said efforts by the African Union High-level Implementation Panel were also essential to progress on the ground. Venezuela had several reservations about the functioning of sanctions committees and would express its views further during tomorrow’s debate on working methods, he said.
On the issue at hand, he said that his delegation’s reservations had to do with the sovereign right of States to manage their own natural resources, underscoring that in no way should the Council, much less the Sanctions Committee, have a say in how they managed such resources.
Omer Dahab Fadl Mohamed (Sudan), recalling remarks made on 18 December 2015 by the Panel’s coordinator describing his country’s cooperation as “excellent”, said the Panel had not been barred from incident sites except in two cases. Various resolutions held Sudan responsible for terrorist and criminal actions by armed groups, yet no one had condemned those actions. Rather, they called upon Sudan to arrest and prosecute perpetrators.
In that context, he urged the Council to take the “most stringent” measures to have those groups lay down their weapons and accede to the peace process. Similar efforts should apply to attempts by those groups to obtain financing and weapons for their attacks upon UNAMID, he said, adding that contravening the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur — the fruit of cooperation among neighbouring countries and the League of Arab States — could be compared with contravention of the United Nations Charter, he added.
Reiterating Sudan’s commitment to cooperation with the Panel, he emphasized, however, that it must not “bypass” its mandate as outlined in resolution 1591 (2005), but rather observe the time frames and respect the need for prior notification of movement to the Government. He cautioned against seeking information from organizations lacking internationally recognized legal status, saying there was no need to seek information about the Government from sources other than the Government itself. The General Assembly had urged States to avoid using unverifiable information when adopting resolutions, he recalled.